MILTON-FREEWATER, Oregon – The Oregon Department of Transportation recently saluted the Milton-Freewater Unified School District’s “Walking School Bus” program. Implemented in fall of 2018, the unique program is part of the community’s efforts to keep children safe going to and from school.
“A Walking School Bus is a group of students led by adults that walk a prescribed route every day, morning and afternoon,” said MFUSD Transportation Supervisor Doug Henrichs.
One of the adults is a paid school district employee, but the other adult is a volunteer from the community, including parents and retired citizens who help the students make the walk to and from school.
The Oregon Department of Transportation recently issued a story lauding the district for also creating new sidewalks and street improvements were made as part of the Safe Routes to School Program.
“We didn’t have a sidewalk coming down one of our main hills,” MFUSD Director of Business and Operations Aaron Duff said. “Close to 100 students up there walk from there, so they’d be walking on a street. The Safe Routes to School really made it so that that Walking School Bus worked.”
The district said working with ODOT has been a good experience and credits ODOT for restriping Oregon Highway 11 and South Main Street from four-lanes into three lanes last summer.
The Walking School Bus program, which involves students attending Gib Olinger Elementary School, is now being showcased by ODOT throughout the state for helping kids and those adults who participates get exercise, helping teach pedestrian skills and for reducing traffic and easing congestion around schools.